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tv   [untitled]    February 10, 2012 2:30am-3:00am EST

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yes. local workers. absolutely. >> all right. mr. goldstein, what are the problems we should be looking at in the visa program? >> well, thank you -- >> thank you, gentlemen. >> the problems were actually discussed in the 1908 report by teddy roosevelt and reported in the commission on migratory labor which said the same thing that the 1909 report said. and the same thing as the commission on agricultural workers said in 1992. we need to modernize labor practice, improve wages to attract and retain the farm workers. stop relying on the desperation abroad to bring in vulnerable workers on restricted nonimmigrant visas. we need to end the discrimination against farm workers. they don't get overtime pay.
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we need to do to things to stabilize the work force and treat them as human beings and we need immigration reform because more than half the farm workers are undocumented. we should give them the same opportunity that this nation of immigrants has given to other people. to become immigrants, leading to citizenship so they have bargaining power and they earn the right to become citizens who can actually vote and have an impact. >> thank you, gentlemen. chairman? >> could i make a correction, so i won't offend anybody. the definition of native americans are those who are defined to have been there for when we all came. so i wanted to establish whether u.s. citizens other than those who have come from out of the country to work were seeking these jobs and so i think you answered some are, some are not. i yield back. >> we'll go for a second round now.
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start off with five minutes. mr. black, mr. wenger, mr. wicker, do you support programs so you can exploit vulnerable workers? >> exploit -- >> exploit vulnerable workers. the various programs rely on vulnerable workers. i'm trying to ask how your particular program does not rely on vulnerable workers if that's the case. how do you empower your workers to the program you envision for us to try and solve this problem? >> well, mr. chairman, no, we do not support anything. >> how would they be empowered by the program you support? >> i think it creates a lot of opportunity in the marketplace. i think the portabilities, some of the things you were discussing earlier, being able
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to compete is an excellent step for us to take. >> mr. wenger? >> the interesting thing is if you're worried about workers being taken advantage of, give them a document so they can travel and vote where their legs if they think they haven't been dealt with correctly. you need a legal work document that empowers you and in california, we have a minimum wage. we pay overtime for agricultural work. and if you're really concerned about the plight of those who are living in the shadows and they're undocumented, give them a legal document. it was interest last summer, as we were going over to my son's graduation and we came by a peach tree and every single one at lunch break had their phones out and they were texting and calling on the phone and talking to people. the people we have working in the fields today aren't somebody that's just stuck back in the shadows. given a legal documentation so i can come out of the shadows, as far as the work force. there should be no reason that
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anyone should be taken advantage of. >> mr. wicker? >> no, we do not support a program that allows exploitation. >> how are they empowered? >> thank you come through orientation and they make many, many worker rights groups. we have a collective bargaining agreement and they know english as a second language, and there's a lot of oversight and accountability. we give full disclosure. we keep records and provide wage statements and we comply with the law. that's how you make sure that workers are not exploited. >> so as you may know, i'm frustrated by this whole thing. i was here in the '80s. i was the republican floor manager, i wrote a lot of what is now the h-2a program from the '80s hoping that would work. i look now and see it didn't
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work. we haven't had the protection of the farm workers that i believe we should have. if they had a legal status and they were out of the shadows of illegality. and so i'm trying to put the best program forward that i think can pass and that can actually work, but then i hear things like a cap. anybody here know how many tourists we have come into the united states per year? 50 million. so what i were here to advocate an arbitrary cap of 25 million? doesn't relate to the flow. doesn't relate to the market. doesn't relate to anything except we in congress decided to have 25 million tourist visas here, even though the demand is 50 million. it makes more sense to establish whatever program we accomplish without a cap, but on an annual basis reflects the need as
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proven by the agriculture committee, approved by the department of agriculture, and then reviewed on a yearly basis. if in fact it's a million it's a million. people seem to be afraid of saying that, but it seems to me it ought to be what the market tells us and then be real with respect to that and give people the mobility and the marketplace so that in fact they're not wards of a particular employer and find themselves back in their home country when they have a legitimate gripe with the employer that they have and an ability to join unions if they want to or not join unions. so i try to deal in the reality of what's out there and to me, caps is like saying you know we have 50 million visitors that come every year, but we are going to stay at 25 million. why? because we think 25 million. maybe we ought to see what the market is and deal with the market in that way.
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and whatever program we adopt, my hope in authoring my bill was to have flexibility and with the legal status of the people involved in the program comes the protections of the already existing law which they can rely on. gent gentle lady from california? >> a couple of comments. i wasn't here in the congress during the reagan years. but i think the problem we have to talk about wasn't in force. the real problem was that there was no mechanism for new people to come in. it was insufficient capacity to meet our needs, whether it was agriculture or whether it was nuclear physicists. that was the problem. and we're still grappling with that problem. my colleagues from texas mentioned the need for broad reform of the immigration laws.
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and before i was ever an elected official, i used to be an immigration lawyer and i thought immigration law. i can tell you that the system is a mess. i people, it's a mess when it comes to agriculture, it's a mess when it comes to family law. it's a mess when it comes to starter revvisas for high-tech. it needs reform. i hope we can do that. it's not going to be in the remainder of this congress, but it's an obligation i hope we can address and it would be wonderful to do it on a bipartisan basis. i think looking at this ag area, the idea -- and i credit everybody trying to address this, but the idea that we could actually get -- let's say we put a cap of 500 -- 1,000. you wouldn't find 500,000 people who apply and to be interviewed
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in the offices to get to american farms in time to avoid the destruction of agriculture. the idea of a cap is not even worth discussing because it won't work. there aren't enough people to apply. we have to talk about how do we help the people who have worked in the field to gain a legal status that allows them to continue to work which we need them to do, but also allows them the dignity and rights that they should have so that they can be treated fairly? i certainly would not suggest any of the individuals here aren't fair, but that happens in the wide world that we live in and people need bargaining power and they need the capacity to stand up for themselves which you can't do if you're living, you know, in the shadows if that's how we want to describe it.
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so i do understand that immigration is a subject that has become to my mind almost irrationally hot as a topic in america when we just should be thinking of what's the right thing to do for our country? and when i think about how our country has been strengthened by immigration, my grandfather was an immigrant. and what can you -- the whole country we have been strengthened by the people who had the get up and go to get up and go. and come to america and dream american dreams and become americans with us. and that's what this discussion should be about, instead of turning our back on our history. we should embrace it and make sure it's a part of our future. and the ag discussion because i think just a small part of that discussion. now, having said that, i want to talk about the economy because
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we have a tough economy now. and even though we've got a largely unauthorized work force in the field, they're contributing to the economic wealth of the country. when i look at commissioner black your testimony, you talk about a survey of respondents indicating that they had lost $10 million due to georgia's new immigration law. but if i'm reading the report correctly, you can just say yes or no, the survey was a 570 people who responded. and reported their losses. but we don't know whether all those people were even farmers, and my understanding is that there are 48,000 farms in georgia. so the $10 million reported loss
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on the 570 who responded to the survey is not all that was lost in georgia if we have 48,000 farms. wouldn't that be correct? >> yes, ma'am. if i may explain the rationale, the methodology on the survey, rather than doing economic models and extrapolating, we wanted to ask direct questions of our 800 responders to the surveys, they were all farm earns. of the ones that -- that answered the economic impact question, that was the 500 number you mentioned. and we said 26% of those indicated losses that totaled over $10 million. >> i see. >> so that's roughly 125, 130 farmers. then one can extrapolate that however you might care, but we know that was the direct impact to those producers and their response. >> i'll just note that the
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university of georgia has done that analysis and what they are saying is that the direct losses would be $140 million in the spring of 2011 for just seven of the key vegetable crops and according to their study the direct losses would lead to an additional $250 million in indirect losses to georgia's economy for a total of $391 million losses to the georgia economy because of that immigration law they passed. thank you, mr. chairman. my time is up. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to address the adverse rate. i have harvesters who utilize h-2a programs pause they know it's the right way to go about it. yet, their competitors realize that because the market drives wages more than anything, that they lose a tremendous competitive advantage and in fact, the resulting outcome has been that you almost incentivize
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the hiring of illegal workers. i guess if we had, you know, fixed costs and fixed price, then the adverse effective wage could be fixed into the formula for the grower's profits but that's not the case. my question to the gentleman starting with commissioner black be, what is your comment on the effective wage rate? >> congressman, it's a difficult issue when you look at a packing shed that might have some minimum wage jobs like sweeping the floor and yet, if you're forced -- that is an economic pressure that you place on a job like that having to abide by that adverse effective wage. that's why i really -- when we talk about the whole issue of wages in agriculture, one of the things that we have been able to do in our study is kind of explode the myth that we
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underpay people. >> right. >> those that are doing the productive work. but the facts are that there are some minimum wage jobs still left and having flexibility to -- >> it's important. >> it's important. >> mr. wenger? >> yeah, i think any time you set wages at a certain level and if you don't have caps and you let people come in and meet that for what they're doing, their responsibility level, they're going to find what that wage should be. and as mr. black has said, there's going to be certain things that have a higher wage rate. maybe it's harder, but others you don't have the same responsibility. so let the market determine. here we are, agriculture, i can't think of a society more free market driven and let's let our wages be more free market driven. >> how do you feel? >> it's a free market wage, tied to the state minimum wage and
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we're looking at the base hourly wage rate that is i would agree with the other gentlemen, the discretion of the grower, responsibilities, skill set, you're going to pay more than that base salary wage rate. but it is so expensive to farm and what my members tell me consistently is this. all i know is that over the last 20 yrs rates have gone up on average 4.7% a year. i'm scared to go to the bank and push all my chips into the middle of the table and sign the other farm or invest capital in infrastructure to try to grow more and do better. i'm scared. because i can't get my hands around where we're going with this labor issue. all i know is it's going up and it's driving me out of business. >> mr. goldstein, don't you think the adverse effective wage
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rate inventizes thoses who want to hire? >> we think it's too low. it is based on the usda survey of agricultural employers wages. it includes wage rates paid to undocumented workers and because undocumented workers are willing to work for less than u.s. citizens, that survey is resulting in the depressed wage rates. in addition, -- >> yet my harvesters back home can't compete because there are too many being hired illegally at less than the effective wage rate. >> we liked to legalize the undocumented work force and have greater enforcement of farm workers rights. you know, you just heard the gentleman, mr. wenger, was saying that some of the workers are making $30 an hour. i've been talking to some growers who say, you know, our workers make an average of $10 an hour, but can't we find a way to work together on the solution, maybe pay them 15 bucks an hour plus some health
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insurance? >> yet you don't have the flexibility. commissioner black? >> when we talk -- when you set things, one of our growers this year completed his work, completed his work, turned the paperwork in and in the process they were charged one penny in our state. >> did the bureaucratic system help him change that paperwork up front? absolutely not. he went to the back of the line and start all over to change one penny. and so another good example of how that piece of work in the paperwork surely does create obstacles for people using the program. >> thank you, again. my time is up. >> thank you, gentlemen. i thank all of our members here. i'd like to thank our witnesses for their testimony today. without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submitted a -- additional
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questions and then ask you to respond in writing so we can make the answers part of the record. all members will have five legislative days to submit any additional materials and again, i'd like to thank the witnesses and this hearing is adjourned. coming up on c-span 3, angela merkel talks about the
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future of europe. the senate budget committees looks into the eurozone crisis. and later, airport security. on tomorrow worn -- morning's, "washington journal" a discussion on cyber security and a talk with senator barrasso of wyoming. he is trying to work out an agreement on extending the payroll tax cuts for the rest of the year. and a look at how the federal government measures price increases and how inflation affects entitlement programs such as social security. our guests are michael horigan. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern. just so i'll remember, here
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is that wonderful moment when senator lott revealed his nostalgia for the state's right segregationist south. take a look. >> when strom thurmond ran for president we voted for him. we were proud of him. >> talking points memo fpt com josh marshall on the internet and the website's emergence into the breaking news business. >> the media is such a different system than it was years ago. i think things like that happen all the time now. and i know that's -- there's certainly big stories that tpm has had over the decade. and we have 20 editorial people so we're breaking stories right and left. i think it's almost become -- it's almost become common place and it's not nearly as surprising today as it was back then.
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>> more about tpm and josh marshall at 8:00 p.m. on q&a. c merkel discussed the future of europe with students at the hertie school in berlin. it was hosted by the financial times and the broader european alliance agenda foundation. following the remarks, she has answers from the students in this one-hour program. >> ladies and gentlemen, i hope all of you can see me behind the lectern. but it seems like it's a good
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place to address the students especially. i'm happy today to have been able to answer the invitation that has been sent to me and to come here to talk to you about the future of europe. europe has always been at the crossroad of history at many points, but i think today is a good time because we have to answer a question. what is the direction that we want to take for the future? this place is perfect. it's the new museum in pberlin and for our students it's a good framework and a good place to talk about the future of europe since it's place that reminds us of the origin of our culture. we see the great classics. we see the wounds of world war
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ii and we see modern architecture as well. like we see in a lot of modern museums. and it's a place where the old and the new mix. about five years ago in march 2007, in berlin we had a great anniversary. the head of state and government under the german presidency of the european union came to berlin to celebrate the treaty of rome that took place 50 years before. and back then, we took that to talk about the lisbon treaty and to underline what europe is all about. what means the european union. what we hope the european union is and what we expect from the e.u. we summarize all this in the
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berlin statement. which mentioned first that war and we talked about the freedom, about good living standards, friendship. this would be the new normal. we talked about multiplicity and diversity. and we talked about the conviction that the great question of the time can only be solved together. that was the basis of what we wanted for the future in the 21st century. we can only answer the questions if we are together. and i think in this berlin statement, we summarized very well what we wanted for europe. and we concluded and i quote the citizens of europe are
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fortunately united. we are fortunately united. europe defends freedom, democracy, freedom of the press, all of this is anchored in our freedoms. and thanks to economic success in the unity and when we read this, we see a human rights democracy, freedom of the press. we can see that in a world of 7 billion people, there are many people who still have to fight for all of this. so it doesn't go by self. we shouldn't take it for granted. there are countries in this world that of course have huge economies, but they don't have our values. they are far from having a
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living standard and our freedoms. so europe has the model that is now in a world in complete change. and there's a question that we have to ask ourselves. in 1950, just coming out of world war ii and little by little brought germany back into the community of the world. and the other germany, it was not the same. back then we were on the planet with 2.5 billion people. 20% of the humans were europeans. last year we hit 7 billion people in the world. and today, the europeans are only 7% of the world population. even if we are still 20% of the world gpp, but when we see each other again 20 years from now you will see that the numbers
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will have changed even more. our societies are aging in europe. we are in the rapid demographic change. there are more and more retired people, less and less active people among europeans. what does that mean? it means that if we want to keep our living standards, we have to change our policies. if we want to keep our values in the globalized world, we have to work together and speak with one voice and we have to convince the others with one voice. so it has to do with our living standards but also it's all about our values. and of course europe is in the middle of a different crisis right now.
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and i think we will only come out of it if we go back to the origins of this crisis. and if we look at the origins of the crisis, we will see immediately that we cannot overcome this crisis overnight. we have a lot of structural problems, we have a lot of debt in some member states. the competitivety is very different from country to another. and we are -- and there are lots of problems still in the construction of the common currency. three problems that must be overcome, that must be solved, that we must solve together. what does it mean? it means that it would be too simple to say the only problem is the international finance market.


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